GYMNASTICS: Ball State finishes fourth in MAC Championships

Nicole Allen wins pair of events, named First Team All-MAC

Before the Mid-American Conference championships, coach Nadalie Walsh said she just wanted to get through the uneven bars to start the meet.

Unfortunately for her, the Cardinals didn't. Ball State put up a 47 on the bars -- its lowest score in the event since Jan. 14.

However, Walsh's team recovered, putting up solid scores to finish fourth in Saturday's MAC championships.

Sophomore Nicole Allen led the way for the Cardinals, tying for the conference title on the vault and floor exercise. Allen's 9.9 on the vault matched the third-best score in school history. She also finished sixth in the all-around and was named to the First Team All-MAC.

Other podium, or top-six, performances for Ball State came from Second Team All-MAC honoree Brittney Emmons, who was third on the vault with a 9.85, and Aftyn Siemer, who finished fourth on the floor with a 9.85.

The top four in the team results followed their seedings, with Central Michigan winning its second-straight conference title.

Following the Cardinals' slow start, they regrouped with a 48.525 on the balance beam.

The best event of the meet for Ball State was the floor, where it put up a season-high 49.025 and had all six gymnasts score above a 9.7.

The Cardinals wrapped up the meet by matching their season best on the vault with a 48.625.

In all, Ball State had three career highs and three season highs during the championships.

The Cardinals will await the regionals announcement to see how many gymnasts will represent the school April 2. Allen and Emmons seem assured spots in the all-around, while Siemer will have a chance based on her floor performance.

Final Team Standings:

Central Michigan - 195.9

Kent State - 195.05

Western Michigan - 194.15

Ball State - 193.175

Bowling Green - 192.9

Eastern Michigan - 192.425

Northern Illinois - 191.475